Proud2Bme | I Had No Idea: The Most Common Eating Disorder No One Talks About

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I Had No Idea: The Most Common Eating Disorder No One Talks About

By Chelsea Kronengold--This year's NEDAwareness Week theme compelled me to share my experience with an eating disorder that most people have no idea about: Binge Eating Disorder.

While Binge Eating Disorder (BED) has gained attention in recent years with its inclusion in the DSM-5, many people are still misinformed about the severity and realness of this eating disorder. Here are the basics: BED is an eating disorder characterized by chronic episodes of binge eating accompanied by a lack of control and negative feelings about oneself. Binge Eating Disorder differs from Bulimia Nervosa because the binge eating episodes in BED are not followed up with compensatory behavior (i.e. purging or excessive exercise).

Though not always the case, many people with BED tend to be overweight and often obese because of the extreme difference in “calories in” (a binge) versus “calories out” (no compensatory behavior).

We live in a fat-shaming society where it is common to express disapproval of those who don’t fit the “ideal body” mold. Unfortunately, individuals who are obese and/or binge eat tend to be put in a box and labeled “lazy” and “self-indulgent.” Most people don’t realize that many individuals who struggle with food and weight are actually suffering from a very real eating disorder. BED is the most common eating disorder in the United States; n fact, according to the Binge Eating Disorder Association, (BEDA), it affects an estimated 3.5% of women, 2% of men, and 30% to 40% of those seeking weight loss treatments.

I have noticed the negative influence BED has in my life -- physically, mentally, and socially. Due to the high caloric intake involved in a binge, I have recently experienced drastic weight gain and low levels of energy. Additionally, during peak times of my BED, I experience depression and anxiety with regards to my weight and feeling out of control. BED has also negatively affected my social life. I am typically outgoing and social, but lately I have isolated myself due to intense feelings of shame and disgust. Instead of choosing to engage in social situations, I tend to make excuses and hide out alone (often resulting in additional binges).

As I work towards health, I feel empowered by the opportunity to channel my eating disorder into a positive outlet. Sharing my experience and engaging in body image/eating disorder activism are real ways to overcome the shame and stigma. And as I share my story of Binge Eating Disorder, I hope to inspire other people who suffer from body image and eating disorders to also speak up and share their stories. As a soon-to-be college graduate, I am exploring job opportunities in the body image and eating disorders field. When I tell people that I want to be a professional in the eating disorders field, they often question how someone who is overweight and struggling with an eating disorder of her own can help others overcome their eating disorders. The answer is simple: I’ve been there. While I still struggle with BED, I know that every day is a work in progress and I feel fortunate to have family, friends, and the Proud2Bme and NEDA network to support me every step of the way.

Related:

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder Association

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.